on the threshold of a dream
Twenty-eight anniversaries he's spent by himself.
Each year, he pulls photos down from the shelf
And for a few hours and with quite a few tears
He lets memories take him back through the years.
They met during the war. It was love at first sight -
For him at least; She had a date that night.
When she said she had plans, he only smiled
And said "Tell him goodbye. I'll wait for a while."
Days later, they married - he was shipping out.
But she didn't whine and sulk and pout
Even when their first child entered the world.
She simply cabled "It wasn't a girl."
He'd wanted a daughter, but took pride in his boy.
His small family back home was his greatest joy
And helped him through his terror and fear
Until he returned to all he held dear.
They never had money; their first home was a barn,
But poverty wasn't seen as cause for alarm.
They made the farm work, drew their drink from a well,
Washed clothes in a tub, sold peas that they'd shelled.
Laughter and love were the life that they knew
So they took hand-me-downs and made clothes like new,
Raised God-fearing children, were beloved by their friends,
Felt fortunate though they lacked money to spend.
They worked hard every day regardless of weather
And thought of the years when they'd grow old together.
But the dreams that they shared were not to be
The prognosis was bad - six months, maybe three.
Their love grew stronger as her body grew weak.
Then one night his eyes said what his mouth couldn't speak.
And the tears wet his cheeks as he buried his wife
And wondered how he'd live the rest of his life
Without his mate always at his side.
For he loved her more than when she'd been his bride.
Her sisters stopped visiting, said they couldn't bear
Thinking of her in the home she had shared.
His gentle reply filled them with guilt
"To me, she's still here in this house that we built
And I like that, for it's still a home -
When I think of her smile, I'm not so alone."
When the pictures are finished, he'll slide them back in their place,
Put his cap on his head, brush the tears from his face,
Walk to his truck and drive to the cemetery
As he's done twenty-eight years on their anniversary.